Academic Freedom in the European Union - Why the Single European Market is a Bad Reference Point

33 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2019

Date Written: January 17, 2019


This article focuses on the EU’s role in setting the framework for higher education in Europe. The topic has special relevance, as major changes have been made in the sector in certain member states, like Hungary and Poland, and some of these changes are connected with the rule-of-law backsliding in these countries. The paper argues that the European Union should develop a list of fundamental rights that it wants to enforce in higher education among the member states and that this procedure has already started in certain instances. On the other hand, as the EU has linked higher education to single-market regulations, it cannot proceed concerning the issues that do not have a connection with the market. This inactivity could create ambivalence in judging the same or similar questions and has the potential to create discriminative situations. The article claims that, unlike common presumptions, the EU could find itself competent to act if it would interpret rights in higher education from a fundamental rights perspective instead of solely protecting market rationality.

Keywords: academic freedom, enforcement of EU law, authoritarianism, rule of law, human rights, single market regulations, Magna Charta of European Academia, Central European University, Bill 2.0

Suggested Citation

Ziegler, Tamas Dezso, Academic Freedom in the European Union - Why the Single European Market is a Bad Reference Point (January 17, 2019). Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper No. 2019-03, Available at SSRN: or

Tamas Dezso Ziegler (Contact Author)

Eötvös Loránd University ( email )

Pazmany Peter setany 1A
Budapest, -- H1117

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